DDW is now history. While rejoicing that DDW happened (as opposed to when it couldn’t in 2020), the virtual format precluded all those hallway conversations, meetings with mentors and small group (after hour) discussions. This year, AGA saved substantial monies in travel costs. Of note, at Michigan Medicine, we track the miles patients did not have to travel because of our conversion to virtual care (currently about 30% of all ambulatory visits). To date, our “virtual first” protocol has saved over 24 million patient travel-miles since February 2020 (average of 62 miles per patient visit).
The pandemic forced rapid adoption of virtual care and alternative care delivery models. As patients adapted to telehealth, businesses saw opportunities. Health systems have begun to downsize their brick-and-mortar footprints for both clinical and office space. Hospital at Home models are developing as viable alternatives to inpatient care using a hybrid system of on-site nurses and remote physician supervision.
Digital health start-ups are developing rapidly, and equity funding for digital health companies has reached anof $26.5 billion in 2020. Multiple companies went public through traditional initial public offerings or special purpose acquisition companies. Sameer Berry, MD, recently collected an inventory of major GI digital health companies counted at least 16 with more appearing each month. These companies focus on management of a single condition (for example IBS or Celiac) or full-service virtual GI care that includes “at-risk” financial contracts
I am delighted to announce that Megan Adams, MD, JD, MSc, has been chosen to be the fourth editor in chief of GI & Hepatology News. She and her team will transition into editorial control during Fall 2021. I have known Megan since meeting her at an AGA young faculty function almost 10 years ago. She is extremely talented and knowledgeable about gastroenterology from a variety of viewpoints. She has recruited a strong and dedicated editorial board.
I have enjoyed the last 5 years leading the current board as we have brought breaking news to the GI community. I wish to publicly thank our editorial board and the Frontline staff who monthly publish AGA’s official newspaper.
John I. Allen, MD, MBA, AGAF
Editor in Chief